The summer solstice may officially mark the first day of summer, but Squid Ink prefers to go by the Memorial Day mantra. Translation: it is now unofficially time to pull out the recently released Mr. Boston Summer Cocktails book.
Just what we need, one more strawberry daiquiri cocktail book, right? That's what we thought. But don't step away from your blender just yet. Despite the perky turquoise pool-party cover, this is a serious (OK, serious enough) cocktail book published under the Mr. Boston label (formerly known as Old Mr. Boston, the post-Prohibition Boston distillery that first published its now infamous red and black pocket-sized booze bible in 1935).
The editors of this new summer edition are Anthony Giglio, a beverage journalist, and Jim Meehan, he of PDT New York fame. Among the dozens of contributors are cocktailians Vincenzo Marianella of Copa d'Oro in Santa Monica and Dale DeGroff, a.k.a. King of the Cocktail.
Curiously, we'll never know who came up with that Botticelli cocktail (grapefruit juice, honey, Aperol, vodka, Prosecco, grapefruit twist), as the cocktail creators are simply listed en masse in the front of the book, not on each recipe page. It makes rooting for your hometown favorite a bit difficult. Or you could look at it as half the fun, a sort of match-the-cocktail-with-the-mixologist party game.
Do note that the emphasis here is on fun, not on being a true cocktail reference guide. But the recipes, thankfully, are not hokey. Nor does it really matter that we still haven't figured out the difference between chapter 1, “Fresh Direct,” and chapter 2, “And Good For You, Too.” They both seem to emphasize fresh farmers market fruits and herbs in cocktails like the Tequila Smash (tequila, maraschino liqueur, lime juice, muddled blueberries and cherries) and the Wise Old Sage (rum, orange curaçao, muddled sage leaves, agave nectar, fresh grapefruit juice). There's also a handy chapter with recipe suggestions to turn digestifs (such as Campari) into cocktails you can serve during dinner, such as the Blood Orange (Campari, gin, dry vermouth, fresh orange juice).
But we suspect we'll be spending much of our summer on chapter dedicated to interesting warm-weather punches, like the Black Rose (vodka, rosé wine, lime juice, simple syrup blackberries) and despite the cheesy name, the Amazonian Love Honey (cachaça, Champagne, orange bitters, honey, orange juice, lemon juice). Why? Because it's summer. And even though we just had a lazy three day weekend, we want another. Preferably one that involves stirring just once and sipping all afternoon.
Amazonian Love Honey
From: Mr. Boston Summer Cocktails, edited by Anthony Giglio and Jim Meehan.
Note: To make honey syrup, combine equal parts honey and hot water and stir until dissolved.
4 ounces fresh lemon juice
4 ounces fresh orange juice
12 dashes (2 teaspoons) orange bitters
4 ounces honey syrup
12 ounces cachaça
1 half-bottle (375-ml) of champagne, chilled
Orange twists for garnish
1. In a large glass pitcher, combine the first five ingredients, top with ice cubes, and stir thoroughly. Strain into a punch bowl, add a large block of ice, and top with the Champagne.
2. Serve in wine glasses and garnish each with an orange twist.